Shopping for the Right Professional Camera Lights
Camera lights provide the much-needed illumination when filming video footage or taking photos in low-light conditions. External flashes and on-camera lights also allow you to achieve balanced daylight exposures in daylight conditions as well as help in the freezing of fast-moving subjects. Additionally, these lights can help you trigger or control other flash light sources.
Choosing Camera Flash Lights
Built-in flashes lack versatility—their flashes point straight ahead, at one angle. This makes external video camera lights necessary for professional-looking shots. With these lights, you have manual control of the contrast, lighting pattern, exposure, ISO noise, and motion. When shopping for on-camera lighting, you'll need to consider a number of factors.
The power output of a camera flash is expressed as a guide number. This value helps you calculate the range of a flash light. You can achieve this by dividing the guide number by the f-stop you're planning to use. For example, if you have a flash with a guide number of 100 and you're shooting at f/4, your subject will need to be 25 feet away for proper light exposure.
If you're a fast shooter, or you just want to capture your subject in an action sequence, being able to rapid-fire your camera flash is crucial. The recycle rate of camera flash lights is usually expressed in seconds. For instance, if you have LED camera lights with recycle rates of 0.1 to 6 seconds, it will take you 0.1 seconds to take another flash shot if the flash produced the lowest light output, and 6 seconds if the flash produced the maximum light output. Keep in mind that newer rechargeable batteries offer better recycle rates because they have more power.
Features of On-Camera Lights
To choose the right professional or consumer camcorder on-camera lights, it's important to understand the functions of their main features.
Swivel and Tilt
Since built-in camera flashes can't move in any other direction other than where the camera points, it makes it difficult to control the exposure of your shots. Camera flashes should swivel from left to right and tilt upward and downward to allow more light control when mounted on the camera.
The auto zoom feature of the flash depends on your camera's focal length. This means that when you zoom in onto a subject, the flash automatically fine-tunes to ensure there's maximum light coverage. Some camera flashes allow you to change the light patterns manually to achieve the lighting effect you desire.
Camera flashes have a quick series of instantaneous light bursts to determine the ideal flash exposure before you take a shot. This usually happens when you press the capture button and before the shutter opens.
Check out B&H Photo and Video's wide assortment of on-camera lighting, including Nikon LED video lights and Sony on-camera lighting.